SEC announces plan to increase field for baseball tournament

Monday, December 19, 2011 at 10:35pm
Staff reports

The Southeastern Conference expanded the field of its postseason baseball tournament to include 10 teams, instead of eight as in previous years, league commissioner Mike Slive announced on Monday.

The change goes into effect this May at the six-day tournament in Hoover, Ala., which has held the event the last 14 years. The league is expanding to 14 schools in July with the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri.

The division winners will receive the top two seeds and first-round byes. The final eight teams will be seeded three to 10 based on winning percentage.

The tournament will continue to use a double-elimination format, with single elimination beginning on that Saturday.

Florida shut out Vanderbilt 5-0 to win last year’s SEC Tournament championship.

The SEC also will begin a Baseball Legends Program, designed to honor four former SEC baseball standouts during the tournament. Football and men’s and women’s basketball currently have similar program, recognizing former league standouts during the SEC Championship games and the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

After reaching the College World Series for the first time in school history, Vanderbilt opens its season on Feb. 17 for a three-game series against Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Commodores are ranked 23rd in a preseason poll released on Monday by Collegiate Baseball. Last season’s national runner-up Florida is ranked No. 1.